Dubai Poet offers to provide manager Roger Varian with back-to-back victories in the Homeserve Dee Stakes in Chester on Thursday.
The Newmarket manager landed the 12-month Derby trial with El Drama, which, like Dubai Poet, wears the yellow and black colors of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.
Impressive when losing his first tag at Newbury in September, Dubai Poet finished third behind 2000 Guineas winner Coroebus in the Autumn Stakes the following month.
He again had to settle for minor honors when he finished second in Checkandchallenge in the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle three weeks ago and reached a mile and a quarter for the first time on the Roodee.
Varian said: “He probably needed the run back at Newcastle and we were happy with that at the time.
“He’s got a good two-year form and we think he’ll get the 10 furlongs. He should handle the track and we think he’s ready to have a great run.”
Mr McCann, trained by Hugo Palmer, has attracted a lot of attention, largely because of his famous football connections.
The Kodiac colt, who won three times as a juvenile, is named after Liverpool press secretary Matt McCann and belongs to a group of current and former Liverpool players, including James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson.
Connections are keen to give him a run in a Derby trial ahead of a potential outing in the big one at Epsom on the first Saturday in June.
“He’ll have to improve and I haven’t known him that long, but he’s got a great attitude and I’m happy with his work, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Palmer said.
“He’s got a lot of options going forward, he won his Derby entry last year so we’ll see if he can do anything to achieve that, but there are a lot of other races as well. in which he could run.”
Aidan O’Brien, who has already won the Dee Stakes eight times, is riding Star Of India this year.
The Galileo son rode in his only juvenile start at Leopardstown and finished fifth behind Guineas runner-up Native Trail in the Craven on his reappearance last month.
Star Of India will be ridden in Chester by Ryan Moore, who told Betfair: “Impressive in his only start in seven furlongs to two, he clearly faced a tough task in the Craven for the first time.
“He definitely feels like this leg of the trip will suit him, which is perhaps unsurprising considering his brother Roman Empire was a good performer of 10 stadia for us before heading to Hong Kong. , and I hope you see it in a much better light here.
“It certainly looks like a winnable race, without standing out.”
Harrow is an interesting contender for trainer Andrew Balding and owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.
Gray won a rookie event at Ffos Las, a nursery at York and a valuable sell-out race at Doncaster last season – and ended his campaign finishing third after Breeders’ Cup winner Modern Games.
So far this year he has finished second in two all-weather one-mile races and Highclere managing director Harry Herbert is looking forward to seeing him on this longer trip.
He said: “He’s in great shape and that’s been the plan for a long time.
“We look forward to accompanying him on the journey. We believe he will stay a mile and a quarter – we believe that is what he wants.
“Physically he is doing very well and he is working well at home.
“It’s a tough race and he needs to improve his mark, but I think he’s capable of it, so hopefully he’ll be very competitive.”
Rounding out the field are Charlie Hills-bred Sonny Liston and Martyn Meade’s Cresta, who were only separated by a short head when they were fourth and fifth respectively in the Feilden Stakes three weeks ago.
“The big problem with Cresta is that he settles down,” Meade said.
“He ran way too freely at Newmarket in the Feilden and he always had that tendency, so we’ll try him with the balaclava.
“I hope Chester suits him. I think making a turn might help him, but we’ll see – it could be his decision.
“He has so many abilities, but he has to learn to settle down a bit.”